Reading Time: 3 minutes
Collages, images, paintings and more annotate Davison’s original photobook, inviting people to contemplate the work anew
Sinuous ants creep across hands clutching pears, while black scribbles unknown the rich creams plus blues of a cloud, and thick strokes of gaily coloured paint coat the man’s now barely noticeable face. These are Jack Davison’s photographs but reworked by hands of thirty-two musicians, both emerging and widely recognized, who received copies associated with his debut monograph Photographs , published by Reduce Joints, in order to ‘annotate’. Painters, photographers, sculptors, collagists, illustrators and even children (including Davison’s nephews) appropriated the photographs with absolute freedom: scribbling, painting, drawing and cutting. Collectively, the particular annotations make for a lively, vivid reworking of Davison’s original publication. But , just like the photographs did prior to, they also stand alone as artworks in and of themselves.
We invited six of the artists to reflect on just how Davison’s work inspired all of them.
Katrien De Blauwer
Initially, it was tricky to do business with contemporary photographs, which are strong on their own and already released in a photobook. (I usually never cut from image books). I’m used to working with images from old publications and different sources and for some reason had the feeling that I could not add anything more to these powerful and very individual images. In the end, I made a selection of images that appealed to me and pulled Jack’s world in to mine. The result is a merging of both our planets.
Something is calming regarding Davison’s work. It is easy to connect to and make up your own story with each piece. This speaks to me because all those aspects go hand in hand along with my work. That’s the things i tried to embrace: show a small part of a story while leaving behind enough mystery to create your own.
It felt thrilling rebellious to work directly on best of Davison’s photographs, especially as my aesthetic style is pretty different to his. In some instances, I used the existing colors in the photograph as a starting place, and in others, I proceeded to go for a full-on abstraction from the image. The annotations are representative of my usual design, with repetitions of colors and motifs I use a lot in my work while ideally still respecting and coordintaing with Davison’s photography underneath.
Ottile and Hamish Lloyd Platt
During the lockdown, my two-year-old daughter and I made a few videos of our ‘art club’ sessions. Drawing together can be fun, and we (sometimes) create something beautifully chaotic. The girl scribbles, and I do the slightly less scribbly annotations by making a face or number from it. ‘Annotation’ is probably too grandiose a word for our process, but we desired to try working over the more dark images with white chalk and coloured pencils. Plus love-heart stamps, all the classic two-year-old tools of the business. Ottile’s favourite images are the flower and parrot, squawk!
“Looking at the works, I was reminded of the trip to Japan: rain, individuals, playing in the park. And so I contributed these collages. The first is a rain scene I drew and drawings associated with Yoyogi park, where the children played, compose the other — I was there with Himaa and we drew the landscape. So it is more a collage of memories. But , I believe it comes together nicely and does not take too much away from the original work. ”
Nathalie du Pasquier
The particular project took me away from the paintings I was doing during that period, which all centred on myself. Once I started on the book, I could not stop, and, eventually, I created interventions on every page even though these people only required a few. The book’s photos are all completely different, which made the surgery so interesting, sometimes getting in touch with for a formal intervention, also pushing me towards a “meaning”: a sense of light poetry. I have combined bits of existing works of mine along with Davison’s images. It seemed a dialogue at a distance.